Categories
Tools & Resources

Stay Focused – 8 Apps That Will Keep You Focused

We live in a busy world. Endless amounts of data are being presented to us, and all of them are fighting for a small piece of our attention. If you are like me and spend a decent amount of time online, it’s easy to find yourself distracted by constant interruptions. Not only interruptions, but I am discovering that I am always wanting to do more “things”. These things might be hobbies, building a new web app, discovering something to do in the area, or just spending time with my wife.

I find myself looking back at a day, wondering where the heck did the time go? If I am honest with myself, I find that this time creep comes in when I am highly unfocused during my day. So how do we become more focused? How do we build habits that keep us focused on our jobs, our families, and our activities?

Categories
Tools & Resources

Urban City Theme Review

I am starting a new, hopefully weekly, feature were I review various church website services and offerings. This week I wanted to take a look at a WordPress theme from ChurchThemes.net. I was initially very impressed with their offering and designs. It appeared to me that maybe finally a theme company could put great efforts into their design, and functionality, not only in their code.

Does Urban Theme deliver what your church will need? Keep reading to find out.

Categories
Web Design

Organize Your CSS Properties Alphabetically

Everyone who writes code does it a little differently. Sometimes we get lazy, or we don’t know any better, or there isn’t a clear standard. I have worked with a lot of different freelance coders and everyone has their own coding style. Today I wanted to share a little tip that I have recently had my team doing to better organize our CSS properties.

For years I was ordering my CSS properties by type, but every time I had to go back (months later) to make a change, or edit someone else’s code, I found that it really made it hard for others to edit.

Here is a sample of what my code looked like:

.class {
border: 1px solid #FFF;
width: 100px;
padding: 20px;
height: 100px;
position: relative;
z-index: 1;
border-radius: 20px;
}

So, I switched to ordering my properties alphabetically, which makes sense in my head, but I think as coders we could all save each other a lot of time if we did the same thing!

Here is what the code looks like now:

.class {
border: 1px solid #FFF;
border-radius: 20px;
height: 100px;
padding: 20px;
position: relative;
width: 100px;
z-index: 1;
}

If you have OCD about your code, this is a great way to organize your code! At Bearded all of my developers are now coding their CSS in this fashion so it is quicker for another coder to step in and edit.

So, how do you organize your CSS?

Categories
Perspectives

Creative Bible Verse: Proverbs 24:3

Proverbs is a wealth of wisdom, because of this, my wife and I love to read a chapter before bed. As creative people, God has given us a special kind of wisdom, we see His creation in a different way that others. We also take great joy in expressing that view of the world through our art, in the things we create.

By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established – Proverbs 24:3

Wisdom is important, but as this verse says: “by understanding it is established.” It doesn’t say by our hard work it is established. It doesn’t say that by my own effort a house is established.

God is telling us we need to not only have wisdom, but we need to understand Him. We need to understand who He is, what He has called us to do, and to understand why we see the world in the way that we do.

Do you have an understanding of why you view the world in the way that you do?

Categories
Web Design

Setting Smart Goals for Your Church Website

I am writing a series of posts about setting goals for your church website. I’ve talked about goal setting before. In this post I want to introduce you to the idea of setting smart goals for your website. We all know that goals are important. In every aspect of our lives we must set goals. Your church website is no different. The big question is are you being smart with your goals?

Categories
Perspectives

The Old & New Project

The Old & New Project launched last week and it is an amazing showcase of illustrations from the bible. The Old & New Project features three new illustrations a week which you can order as prints. All of the proceeds go to the blood:water mission.

Very soon my office will be decked out in illustrations from Old & New, the designs are fantastic!

Check it out: http://oldandnewproject.com

Categories
Perspectives

Why I Removed Search

I am running a test. Something that might drastically change how a user interacts with Church Website Ideas. Last night I decided to remove the search bar from this site in a effort to test an idea I had. It all started when I wanted to find an old blog post I wrote, so I did a quick search using a keyword and, nothing! I couldn’t find the post, or anything really relevant. Not a good user experience.

A Quick Look at the Numbers Made Me Remove the Search Bar

I thought that if I am having trouble finding things, then I bet others are too. I took a quick look at my Google Analytic data and noticed in one week, 21% of people searching this site we bouncing off as soon as they hit the results page. This can mean a few things, but I read it as: 21% of our users are not finding content and leaving the site. Not something I want to be known for.

Categories
Tools & Resources

8 Best WordPress Themes for Churches or Non-Profits

[icon style=”calendar” color=”blue”]Last updated on Jul 7, 2015 @ 6:58 pm[/icon]

I love WordPress. When done right, using WordPress for your church website is a great choice for a CMS. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of choices when it comes to beautiful WordPress themes for churches. I spent some time digging for quality WordPress themes churches could use, and I found eight that stood out over what is out there. All of these are paid themes and their features vary.

Have a WordPress theme you love? Share in the comments! Enjoy!

Categories
Perspectives

Why I Started Running

From time to time I post random things from my life in a effort to possibly help encourage people. I want to share part of my journey with you. Running has a ton of benefits, we all know why we should run, but I wanted to share with you a few reasons why 18 months ago I started running.

Here is my story, why I love running, and how it helps me as a creative.

Categories
Web Design

6 Tools for Responsive Web Design

It seems like responsive web design is here to stay. I recently started designing and developing my new projects around the responsive web design methodology. Designing and developing with multiple screen sizes in mind, presents a whole new set of challenges for designers and developers.

I have put together a list of some great tools I have used to help make my new responsive websites work.

Categories
Perspectives

Your Path, Your Passion, His Calling

Life can be crazy, it can be busy, it can be hard, but if you are following what God has called you to do, you will succeed.

Since moving to Cambodia to work with street kids, life has been difficult. I find myself questioning if we made the right choice. But I have to remind myself that God made a path for us to follow. As long as we follow His path, we will make it, and hopefully by His grace make a difference.

When I start to doubt God’s calling for us, I look to my favorite verse:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
(Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV)

We need your prayers, and I want to pray for you. Let me know how I can pray for you.

And if you want to see what my wife and I are unto in Cambodia, check out our site at: goforlove.org.

Categories
Perspectives

Fear of Failure?

What are you afraid of?

You’re afraid. Getting more done would mean exposing yourself to considerable risk, to crossing bridges, to putting things into the world. Which means failure. – Seth Godin

Is 2012 the year you face your fears? I pray that it is.

via: Seth Godin Blog

Categories
Perspectives

Creative Bible Verse: Amos 4:13

Creative Bible Verse is a feature that explores the bible and what the Word has to say about creativity and our relationship with God.

For behold, he who forms the mountains and creates the wind, and declares to man what is his thought, who makes the morning darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth— the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name! – Amos 4:13

The same God who forms the mountains and creates the wind gave us his Holy Spirit. That very spirit enables us to be creative, to form our own mountains and create our own wind, as an act of worship to God! It is my prayer for you today that you feel his creative spirit, in anything you do, He is there with you.

Categories
Tools & Resources

8 Things You Need to Setup Your Own Web Server

Original Server Photo by: Tom Raftery via Flickr

For some of us, paying a hosting service is worth the monthly cost. Being able to hand over control to someone else can remove potential headaches. But 3rd party hosting isn’t for everyone. I use a local server for testing out web apps I am developing, which cuts down on hosting costs for a dedicated server for testing, which can easily run $100+ a month!

This is the first part of an on-going series that will walk us through the process of setting up our own web server. First thing we need to do is look at what you will need in order to get your own server up and running!

Categories
Freebies

Dribbble Invite Winner: David Pohlmeier

Well, I suck. It took me FOREVER to pick out a winner for the Dribbble contest! Thank you to everyone who entered!

I am happy to announce that David Pohlmeier is proud new owner of a Dribbble invite!

I still have more, so find a creative way to show me how good you are and I might just draft you as well!

Categories
Website Ideas

Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy the long weekend with your family & friends!

Categories
Freebies

Dribbble Invite Giveaway

Dribbble is one of my favorite sites! It is a huge invite only site for designers to share what they are working on, and I have an invite for one lucky designer!

Announcing the Church Website Ideas #dribbble Giveaway

This contest will run from Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011 until Monday, December 5th, 2011.
I will announce the winner on Tuesday, December 6th!

How to Enter:

1) Follow us @churchwebideas

2) Post your name and portfolio link in the comments below!

That’s it! Now show us some great work!

Categories
Perspectives

Creative Bible Verse: Exodus 35: 31-33


Creative Bible Verse is a feature that explores the bible and what the Word has to say about creativity and our relationship with God.

and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, for work in every skilled craft.
Exodus 35:31-33

When Israel was commissioned by God to construct the Tabernacle, God filled men with the Spirit of God. The Spirit enabled the Israelites with the wisdom and creative ability to create a wonderful creation for the Lord.

Verse 32 shows God’s great gift of artistic ability: “to devise artistic designs…” In the same way today, God has gifted us with artistic ability, wisdom, and craftsmanship to create things that will help glorify Him, and help his church.

I forget regularly that my passion for design is a God given gift. My pride gets in the way of giving all the credit to my maker, my father. I continually need to be reminded that my gifts are God given, not man made. They should be used for more than just making money, or my selfish desires. My gifts should be used to give glory to God, from whom all blessings flow.

I am praying for your gifts, your talents, and your ministry today. If you have a specific need, please let me pray for you. Post in the comments!

Categories
Tools & Resources

Holiday Apple Gift Guide for Church Creatives

It’s coming up on the holiday season, and it’s time to start thinking about gifts for family and friends. It might also be time to look at upgrading your hardware to something newer. Being the Apple fanboy that I am, I wanted to share with you some thoughts on the current Apple line and where it might best fit for your uses.

Categories
Freebies

5 Great Free PSD Files for Designers

A great way to learn how to design is to look at other designers PSD files. I spend a lot of time breaking apart other designers PSD files to see how they were created. Today I wanted to share with you five great design elements that will help you become a better designer. These PSDs come from some of the best designers in the industry! So download these now and take a look!

Categories
Perspectives

Ministry Related Blogs You Should Follow

I often get asked, what type of blogs do I follow? As part of my effort to stay in touch while living outside of the states, I try and follow as many blogs as possible. I believe that it is important to be consuming quality ministry content that I can put into use right away. These blogs are quality and are some of my favorite blogs.

Categories
Perspectives

Being Creative Takes Focus

Creative people have a bad reputation. We have a perception that we are unorganized messes. The problem with this idea, is that being creative takes a lot of focus and concentration if you ever want to ship your creations.

Getting your creative art out in the world is hard work. It takes a huge amount of focus to dream, create, refine, and develop. The process can be long, tiring, frustrating. But for any creative person who knows the joy of shipping a complete work of art, it is all worth it.

Categories
Perspectives

Creative Bible Verse: Genesis 4:21

Creative Bible Verse is a new feature that explores the bible and what the Word has to say about creativity and our relationship with God.

Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe.
– Genesis 4:20-21

In Genesis 4:21 we see for the first time, music enter the world. This is the first human instance of creativity and art. God has blessed us to be a creative people, from the beginning of this world, God gave us talents to create.

Not only to create for ourselves, or clients, but for Him. As an act of worship we create things for Him. To praise an almighty God.

Have you used your talents as an act of worship to Him lately?

Categories
Perspectives

The Sad State of the Online Church

Make your church website better. That’s the battle cry I have been trying to shout for the last few years. It’s the reason I started blogging, it’s the reason I got into web design in the first place. Recently, I have started reviewing sites for our Best Church Websites of the Year feature and it makes me sad that the state of the online church is still really poor. I feel like giving up and focusing on other areas, but the reality is, the church must change. Not should, not think, but it must change.

Categories
Perspectives

Speechless.

Steve Jobs by David Cristian

I have no words.

Categories
Perspectives

Going Through the Motions

With the ebb and flow of life, I have to remind myself to slow down. To be intentional. To focus on what is important and make design decisions that are focused on one goal: delivering content to a user.

That’s what we do as web designers, we cultivate content, we invent new ways to interact with it, and we are responsible for creating a lasting impact.

Is your web design process intentional? Or are you going through the motions?

Categories
Web Design

Church Website Inspiration: Irving Bible Church

I found this website this week and thought it was a great example of a focused church website. Irving Bible Church’s website features a large rotating hero image, good for featured information, and important links. The content is very well organized, and all the church ministry web pages match the rest of the design (For example, no crazy fonts or design for the Children’s page).

Make sure to check this one out! Another great church website! www.irvingbible.org

Categories
Perspectives

Adobe Please Leave TypeKit Alone

Adobe is buying up Typekit

It’s official. Adobe has bought one of my favorite startups – TypeKit. TypeKit is a service that allows you to legally embed web fonts on your website. It also makes sure that the fonts will render in all browsers. It’s a wonderful service! I use TypeKit for most of my web font needs and I have a few feelings about this new purchase.

Categories
Perspectives

Our Refreshed Look

If you have have been a visitor here over the last few years, you know that I change the design randomly to appeal to my need for a fresh look. Well, yesterday we rolled our more of a refresh than an actual re-design. I am focused on trying to bring the websites I run to be more focused, and united by a common brand.

Over the next few weeks I will be pushing out a few changes that will hopefully add more focus on what CWI is about.

I hope you enjoy! And as always please let me know how you feel in the comments!

Categories
Perspectives

Artistic Inspiration: David Fokos

Drop what you are doing and check out David Fokos. He’s been my favorite photographer for years and his minimalistic photography will mess with your head (in a good way).

I decide what it is that I wish to convey – what is it in the scene that I want the viewer to focus their attention upon, and what emotion I want to evoke. Then, I try to minimize anything else that competes with that. – David Fokos

When creating and designing, the point is to remove the distractions and to focus the user. Are you focused on the emotion of your web design work, or simply trying to push something out the door?

Categories
Perspectives

How I Screwed Up My Twitter Account

I have to make a confession. I hate Twitter. Hate is such a strong word, but Twitter is a blackhole, sucking the life out of me. For months I have been trying to figure out how people have time to tweet, as I hardly even have time to check my email most days!

A few months ago I shared some Twitter tools that can help your church. I finally had the time to put these tools to use, and now I am making a move to become more active and deliberate with Twitter. But the first thing I needed to do, is fix my Twitter account that I screwed up years ago.

Categories
Perspectives

Quotable: Howard Schultz

What is driving your actions today?

When we love something, emotion often drives our actions. This is the gift and the challenge entrepreneurs face every day. The companies we dream of and build from scratch are part of us and intensely personal. They are our families. Our lives. – Howard Schultz from Onward

Categories
Freebies

Want a Google+ Invite? We have a bunch.

So Google+ is really cool. But it’s still in beta and you have to be a cool kid in order to get an invite. Well, good news! We have a bunch to give away!

Hit the jump to see how to get one of these invites.

Categories
Perspectives

It’s Been Awhile.

Ok. It’s been well over a month since I have posted anything. It would be an understatement to say that life has been crazy, it has been insane. My wife and I are off the mission field for two months which will give me some time to catch up on work and blogging.

Church Website Ideas isn’t going anywhere, I have some cool stuff to share with you all! Until next time.

Blessings,

Jesse

Categories
Web Traffic

How To Setup Your Facebook Fan Page

Most churches are just starting to get their presence built on Facebook. Getting your Facebook fan page is the first step. This short tutorial will help you get your static page setup. We will be using FBML, which is the easiest to setup and use for our simple church page.

Categories
Website Ideas

25 Places to Find Photos Online

First, you need to find a great image. This starts by identifying what message you want to convey. An image the matches in tones, and the colors of your website.

A few places to find images:

Kave Wall is a graphic design firm that also has a stock photo library. Many of the images appear to be free for the small sizes, but they also offer a full resolution catalog of 1,700-plus photos for $199.

Nations Illustrated This site features travel photographs, which are often popular and beautiful.  The downside is the site doesn’t make it clear where the images come from; however, the user agreement states that you may use the images for personal, non-commercial purposes.

Historical Stock Photos has a great collection of historical photos.

Veer is a free and paid photo site.  Each week they handpick images to put in their free gallery.

Public-Domain-Photos offers 5,000 free photos and 8,000 free clip art items. All photos on this website are public domain. You may use these images for any purpose, including commercial.

Image After offers a simple search tool with drop-down choices. You can also search by term and as soon as you click the image you like, it brings up options to download.

Design Packs is aimed at Web designers and offers free stock photo sets, already zipped up, ready for download.

Free Foto offers a huge library of images. They offer free online use, with higher quality images available for a fee.

Photo Rack offers a large catalog of free images. Their terms of use are simple: “All photos at PhotoRack are Free to use for personal and commercial projects. No limitations. No backlink required to use them; however, we really appreciate it if you post about us in your blog.”  The service is organized in a forum structure and photos are then subcategorized within each section.  They mention a search box in their help file, but I could not find it, so you have to scroll through.

Deposit Photos is a fee-based service, but I mention them here because their 7-day free trial allows you to download five images per day for seven days. You have to enter a credit card, but their agreement on this page states that you can cancel at any time.

Free Pixels offers a smaller collection than some of the other providers here; however, they have millions of views in each category. This implies that they have a lot of quality images and people are spreading the word. I found a number of eye-catching images worth downloading.  “Every Freepixels image or digital creation used must retain the domain name: freepixels.com when used on the Internet, in a Web page, in printed publications, or in any product, advertising, or packaging.”  They seem reasonable and will allow you to remove the watermark on the image if you provide credit near the image itself. Read the terms.

Photo Rogue is incredibly unique. I would categorize them as a photo request site.  You can submit a specific photo you’re looking for and a volunteer photographer will go out and try to create it for you. While they don’t have many requests in the service yet, this site could take off and provide an interesting model for both buyers and sellers of photography.

Free Range Stock is another of my favorites in the free stock world.   It is a photographic community supported by ad revenue – photographers get paid when users click on the ads that appear next to their submissions. Images on the site are either shot by Freerange Stock, drawn from Freerange archives, or contributed by a talented community of photographers.

Geek Philosopher offers a free stock photo page and they request a detailed backlink for use of their free images.

Cepolina is a travel and nature focused site, but has over 16,000 images and also organizes by color for those who want to find a photo to match their website. I found some very good food images here, too. You can download by size, up to 1,600 x 1,200 pixels.

Abstract Influence is a photography community and reportedly allows members to download free photos, but I couldn’t find evidence of that without joining.  You can see and peruse different photo libraries and categories without joining, so if you’re looking for an original photo this might be a good place to search. (No guarantee that it is free, however.)

Stock.XCHNG is now owned by Getty Images, but as far as I could tell it was still a free photo site.  SXC has a long history, a great community, and tons of images on their unique site. How big is big? A huge gallery containing over 350,000 quality stock photos by more than 30,000 photographers.

Every Stock Photo is a search engine for free photos. The photos come from many sources and are license-specific. You can view a photo’s license by clicking on the license icon, below and left of photos. Membership is free and you need to become a member to download photos.

Imagebase by David Niblack appears to be a labor of love.  David Niblack makes his images available for public use. The images are free and very few conditions are placed on them — read it here. There are not thousands of images here, but there are some good ones in the people, objects, city and nature categories.

Morguefile provides free images for personal and commercial work. Their tagline says it all: “Public Image Archive for Creatives by Creatives.”  They also offer a way for you to add your own photos to morgueFile so that you can give back to the creative community.

Open Photo. This site has a range of photo categories with plenty of images in each one.  Once you click on the photo you like, you can see the details about copyright, creative commons, and other rights and expectations (such as a link back) in a simple box to the right.

Stock Vault is a pretty slick site.  When you pick a photo, it brings up the image and details about the photographer. Next to the image is a button that says, “Support this User,” and when you scroll over it, it says, “Buy Him a Coffee.” In the upper left portion, it simply says download and you can get the image immediately.

Unprofound is a photo site sorted by color. You pick one of six colors or white and peruse a range of photos. You can use a basic search engine on the site, but they advise you keep to simple terms.  This is not a huge collection of photos (it is run by one person), but it offers truly free photos. “This collection of photos is for anyone to use in just about any way they’d like” is what the FAQ states.

Toasto is a simple free photo site by one photographer.  You can browse photos by categories such as nature, technology, computing, food, and even by concept and idea. Photos are available on a creative commons license as long your use is non-commercial and attributed to the site.

Photoree is a photo search engine that searches creative commons licensed photos. In a simple dropdown menu, you can pick the license that is right for you.  This image came from a simple search on “mobile device” and “creative commons, commercial use OK.”

Free Photos Bank is a solid site with lots of images, particularly for business users. They have ads, too, so don’t get distracted. They have a quick navigation button at the top right which can drop you into the section you want.

Fotolia is paid site, but has free images you can download. You have to register to complete a download, however.

Free Digital Photos. Images are free provided you publish a credit to the person who created the image. Instructions for publishing credits can be found to the right of every image – click the “Acknowledgement required” link. If you would rather not publish a credit you must purchase a licence, starting at just $5 per image.

PublicDomainPictures.net is a repository for free public domain photos. You can upload your own pictures and share your work with others.  They do make statements that model and property releases are not standard, so be careful how you use these photos.  However, they are all free for use.

iStockphoto is one of my regular stops when I’m looking for an image.  They were one of the first to offer user-generated, royalty-free stock photos, including video, illustrations, vector images, and audio. They also offer flash-based images as well.  You can buy a regular subscription plan or pay-as-you-go.  There is a free photo of the week, too.

Categories
Tools & Resources

Defined: What Is The Cloud?

Image Credit: mnsc @fickr

The internet is always changing, it is always adapting, and it is always has something new to offer. The concept of the cloud is not a new one, but the internet is now in a place to make all our of cloud computing dreams possible.

Let’s take a look at what exactly this cloud thing is.

Categories
Freebies

PSD Freebie – 16px Icons for Designers

Free stuff is awesome! If you are a designer, you will love having this nice and simple 16px icon set laying around. PSD is included and will also give you some great insight on how these types of icons are designed.

What are you waiting for? Hit the break to get them!

Categories
Tools & Resources

6 Great Apps for Your Jailbroken iOS Device

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love Apple products. I especially love my iPhone 3GS. But iOS doesn’t have all the features I want, so one of the first things I did was Jailbreak my iPhone. Over time I have added some great apps that increase the functionality of my phone and also help me get things done. Let’s take a look at some great iOS apps for your Jailbroken devices.

Categories
Website Ideas

Creative Tech Bundle

Last week I was notified from our advertising network, Beacon Ads, that Church Website Ideas was featured in an advertising bundle focusing on the creative & technology niche. I enjoy working with the Beacon Ad Network and I know you will too! This is a great opportunity for those of you who are looking to market your product or service over 13 different christian tech websites!

If you’re interested check out the bundle here.

Categories
Perspectives

Cool Things We Found This Week – May 27th, 2011

Each week we highlight cool things we found on the internet. We spend way too much time looking at blogs and archiving websites in our Evernote accounts. But we share these great links with you, so you can have a life! This week we feature everything from a free PSD kit to coffee bag wallets! If you have anything great you’ve come across this week, let us know! Happy Friday

Categories
Perspectives

Quotable – Andy Stanley

What is your tipping point?

“Often times a single act of courage, is the tipping point for something extraordinary.” – Andy Stanley

Categories
Web Design

5 Questions To Ask Before You Contact A Web Designer

I chat with web design clients all the time about their website projects. We talk about website goals, budgets, features, competitors, and technology. Looking back at my conversations there are a few questions I wish potential clients would ask themselves before contacting me. By looking at these 5 simple questions, you can save a lot of initial back and forth time with any potential designer you might hire.

Categories
Tools & Resources

I Love Subtle Patterns

[icon style=”calendar” color=”blue”]Last updated on Jul 7, 2015 @ 7:12 pm[/icon]

This site is my new favorite. I am always looking for nice, clean, high quality patterns for my designs. Subtle Patterns gives you the ability to test out a pattern before you download it. It is awesome and you should check them out.

Update 10/1/2013: Be sure to check out the “do’s and don’ts” for use on their FAQs page.

Subtle Patterns

Subtle Patterns

Image Credit: fuzzy jr. | flickr

Categories
Perspectives

Cool Things We Found This Week – May 20, 2011

I save just about every helpful web article I come across. At the end of the week, I would like to share the coolest ones with you. For some reason this week I spent a lot of time at Web Design Ledger, so 4 of the 5 are from their site.

Happy Friday!

Categories
Perspectives

These Folks Keep Us Going

Since launching this blog I have had the chance to meet some great people and very interesting companies. Once again I want to highlight our sponsors, who are keeping us going and helping churches make their websites better!

  • iMinistries – Offers church websites and an iPhone app for your ministry.
  • Cheap Church Websites – Features affordable websites for ministries on a tight budget.
  • NetMinistry – Provides your church or ministry and online community.
  • Courtyard – Allows an easy way for you to get your church directory online!
  • Comf5 – Provides video and media hosting solutions for your church or ministry.
  • Bertolini Sanctuary Seating – Amazing seating provider for your church, their quality is unmatched!
  • Cloversites – High quality church websites that anyone can update.

If you are interested in advertising on Church Website Ideas, please visit: Beacon Ad Network.

Categories
Tools & Resources

Bundle Hunt Is Back, Still Awesome.

So I have no connection to Bundle Hunt, but whenever I see a pack like this for sale, I jump on it. The great thing about these packs are you can get a ton of cool tools and design stuff for a really cheap price. You can also enter to win an iPad 2 if you’re interested! Offer ends May 31st! Check them out!

Break down of what’s included after the break.

Categories
Perspectives

Quotable: Seth Godin

Are you trying to make a change? Will you accept the responsibility without anything else?

“Change is made by people who eagerly accept responsibility without expecting authority.” – Seth Godin

What are you trying to change? Let me know…

Categories
Tools & Resources

13 Apps From My Digital Toolbox

I always enjoy when people share the tools they use everyday to do their jobs. Today I am sharing with you a few of my favorite apps from my digital toolbox. As a small business owner, designer, developer, and missionary these are all tools I use to get my work done. These are in no order, and the costs I listed are what I have paid, even though most of these have some free plans.

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Tools & Resources

Is Your Pastor Bad At Blogging? Try Tumblr!

I have previously blogged about pastors being really bad at updating their blogs. Blogging is hard work, takes time, resources, and patience. Recently a client asked for a custom Tumblr theme and that got me thinking that Tumblr might be the tool pastors have been looking for. Tumblr is a micro-blogging service, which will allows you to make short posts, of photos, videos, quotes, and text. Let’s take a look at why this could be a cool tool for pastors.

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Perspectives

Quotable: T.D. Jakes

What are you passionate about?

“When people are passionate about what they do, they are far more effective in what they do.” – T.D. Jakes

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Tools & Resources

Simple CMS: A Preview of a Simple CMS

This is our first in a series of content management system previews. Church Website Ideas is taking time to highlight content management systems that we come across that might work for your church website. Today we take a look at Simple CMS, a basic but very powerful CMS that offers some unique features!

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Website Ideas

Happy Easter

Happy Easter from Church Website Ideas! I am praying that today people will come to your church and experience the joy of the God who defeated death. He has risen!

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Tools & Resources

4 New Twitter Tools for Your Church

Twitter is a big deal to some people that attend your church. I have believe that we should use as many platforms as possible to reach our people. Twitter, is no exception. Today, I wanted to highlight four new tools for Twitter I have recently come across. So fire up your Twitter account, and start reaching more people!

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Web Content

11 Great Ways to Publish Your Sermon Online

One of the hardest battles for small to mid-size churches is how to get their sermons online.

The benefits of adding your sermons to your website are huge and in the year 2011 there are no more excuses for not uploading your content. Technology advances have helped lower the cost and you don’t need anything too fancy to record your sermons. Later, we will cover simple ways to record your sermons, but for now let’s assume you are already recording your sermons. So, how do we get them online?

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Perspectives

Why Your Meetings Suck

I’ll be honest, I really hate meetings. I never really knew why I hated meetings until I read Re:Work from the fine folks at 37signals. Today I wanted to share with you a few reasons why meetings can kill creativity and hurt your productivity.

Meetings are about concepts, not real work.
Meetings are giant waste of time, energy, and resources. Meetings tend to be more about abstract concepts, rather than real things. When was the last time you had a meeting that that actually got real work done? Probably not in a long time.

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Freebies

5 Free Fonts For Your Designs

I love finding new fonts. I wanted to share with you five recent fonts I have come across that I am loving to use in some of my design work. So take some time, download these fonts, and make something awesome. Time to get creative!

Enjoy!

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Perspectives

Another social media app…

I ran across another social community building application for your church. The Table Project is a very interesting and free application that will allow you to build an online community for your church.

I just can’t help but thinking these types of applications are moving us in a bad direction. Creating a silo for our online church community to hang out in, seems counter productive to me. If you are trying to create an online community OUTSIDE of my normal workflow, I am never going to use it. Once again, the goal should be to connect your church in a way that is natural and normal for users. And right now, that platform is Facebook.

Here’s a simple idea: why not develop a Facebook app for building church community?

Thoughts?

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Web Design

Website Idea #4 – Make Your Site Mobile

Let’s be honest, you haven’t given any thought to making your church website mobile friendly. With smartphones everywhere in the US, as web designers we need to be aware that more and more people will access our sites from their mobile phones. Luckily, for website developers, this task isn’t that a big issue. There are CSS frameworks available in the market that allows users to make mobile versions of every web application.

Today I want to share with you some of my favorite plugins and frameworks that will make it easy for you to create a mobile version of your website. Enjoy!

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Web Content

Website Idea #3 – Optimize Your Web Forms

I am a big fan of clean and simple websites. I also believe that your contact forms should also be simple and easy to use. I see web forms all over the place that require too much information, or don’t have clear instructions. Today I want to look at what you can do to help create a great web form.

Now, I am a huge fan of Wufoo. A great company that provides a very easy way to create and edit your web forms. I love them so much, that I use them on just about every website I work on. So let’s take a look at what you can do to optimize your web forms.

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Perspectives

Check Our New Sponsor – PushChurch Podcast

At Church Website Ideas, this blog is supported by our advertisers and we love them for supporting our mission for helping kill ugly church websites. Last year, we switched over to BeaconAds, to help us find and get relevant advertisers. The important part of our vision with any ad on Church Website Ideas, is that it must be relevant. We don’t accept every ad request we get, but the ads you do see will be relevant to our vision.

That takes us to our latest sponsor, PushChurch Podcast. I just spent some time checking out their first podcast, and I am excited to see a couple of guys chatting about online church and advertising. Drop what you are doing now, and check these guys out.

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Web Content

Website Idea #2 – Add A Google Map

Getting people to your church can be hard work. You would be surprised how many church websites I see without a directions/location page! But even worse are the churches that only put their address on their location page.

Today I want to encourage you to use http://www.google.com/maps to create a custom map and directions. This quick and easy update, you literally paste the Google Map code into your CMS, will give your site that extra little feature to highlight where you are located.

Take a look at a great example from LifeChurch.tv:

A map to lifechurch.tv

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a great example of what you can do to! I love that they list service times, a Google map, and contact information! Do you have a great example of a location page? I would love to see them!

Image Credit: heiwa4126 | flickr

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Website Ideas

The Standard Theme Switch

I have made a few changes to Church Website Ideas today. First is the new design, which really was pushed by our move to the Standard Theme, from Thesis. Why the switch? After watching load times for our previous design, I was not happy with the site performance. This was not really the fault of Thesis theme. It had to do more with my coding and hosting situation. So now, the blog is running on a much faster server, with a more optimized theme, so this should help with the load times people were experiencing.

Also, I moved the comment system over to Disqus, which will allow you to login via Facebook, Twitter, OpenID, or you can setup your own login. This move should help me manage the spam, and also help me keep better tabs on my responses.

So, as I work on increasing post frequency, you will keep noticing small changes to the site. I hope you enjoy it!

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Perspectives

My Predictions for the Online Church in 2011

Ok, I am still here and still focusing on church websites. I wanted to start off this new year by laying down my predictions for the online church in 2011. I think 2010 was a great year for the online church, lots of innovation, churches moving towards real design, and integration of social media. This year will be more of the same, but I think there will be a few standout items. Check them out after the break.

Flickr Photo Credit: just.Luc

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Web Design

The Disadvantages of Flash

Adobe’s Flash technology has recently come under much debate in the design community. One one side of the debate, the strong willed Flash designers and developers, who have invested time and money into learning and developing for the Flash platform. And the other side, are the web designers and developers who want nothing more than a standard, HTML 5 to rule. I want to take a look at why Flash might be bad for your next website.

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Web Traffic

Increase Your Facebook Fans